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September 15, 2022  |  Electronics

Best 6 laptops with high-end specs and budget prices

It wasn’t long ago that the idea of buying a powerful laptop computer at a reasonable price was unheard of. Thankfully, those days are over. Due to advances in technology and the huge selection of offerings, you no longer have to sacrifice your desired specs to get a great deal on a notebook.

From touch screen displays to ports for connecting to the rest of your favorite devices, today’s laptop computers are more capable and affordable than ever before.

What to know before you buy a laptop

Your usage

Think carefully about what you will be using your computer for. Any budget laptop on the market today is capable of word processing, online meetings and watching streaming content. However, if you want a computer that lets you run games or create and edit video or audio content, you’ll have to pay more attention to its processing power.

Size

While everyone appreciates a generous display, bigger laptops are heavier and harder to pack, which can add significant weight to a backpack, especially for college and high school students who already have heavy textbooks to carry. If you need your laptop to view or create visual content, consider investing in an additional monitor for your primary workstation. This lets you take a better look at your work when needed without having to sacrifice portability.

Connectivity

Many people make their laptop the core of their primary workstation. To do so, you need to make sure that your computer has the ports needed to connect to the other components of your office. Most PCs include a generous amount of USB ports. Apple notebooks, however, typically require an adapter or two to make the most of their connectivity.

Operating system

Most people have a preference for one operating system or another. Some users feel restricted by the exclusive ecosystem inherent to Apple laptops while others feel that Windows is too cluttered or unstable for their liking. If you will be using your laptop for work, consider what operating system most of your co-workers use so you can collaborate on projects easily and share files unhindered.

Battery life

A laptop’s primary selling point is portability. Most of today’s laptops have battery life sufficient for general travel, although some last longer than others. Carefully research the battery life of the laptop you’re interested in to make sure it can work long enough to satisfy you between charges.

Power

Select a laptop with the RAM and processing power you need to use it as you intend to. Whenever possible, choose a machine with specs that exceed your requirements. This will ensure that your computer can keep up with advances in technology for the next couple of years. It will also prevent you from pushing your machine to its limits and encountering performance bottlenecks.

Keyboard backlighting

If you plan to use your laptop in situations where the ambient lighting will be dim, a backlit keyboard is a necessity. This comes standard on high-end laptops, but it is often the first feature to go on budget options. If the lack of an illuminated keyboard is a deal-breaker for you, the most affordable choices will be limited.

Best laptops for those on a budget

Top premium laptops

Electronics-Best 2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop

2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop

What you need to know: Apple’s new M2 chip has given their most portable laptop a power boost.

What you’ll love: Enjoy everything that MacOS has to offer in this light, thin, ultra-portable laptop. Available in four colors, this laptop features a crisp Liquid Retina display and has up to 18 hours of battery life.

What you should consider: While this is Apple’s most affordable laptop, at just over $1,000 it’s still significantly more expensive than competing PCs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Electronics-Best Dell Inspiron 16

Dell Inspiron 16 

What you need to know: Dell’s Inspiron series continues to deliver high specs at low prices.

What you’ll love: This laptop features a 16-inch screen and 16 gigabytes of RAM. It includes Windows 11 and is powerful enough to run some games, thanks to its AMD hardware. Ports on both sides of the computer make it easy to connect to other devices and displays. Its keyboard is backlit.

What you should consider: This laptop is large, so portability may be limited for some buyers. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Electronics-Best Asus VivoBook

Asus VivoBook 

What you need to know: This laptop is available in six configurations to suit your needs and budget.

What you’ll love: This notebook features a brilliant IPS touch screen display and up to nine hours of battery life. Three USB ports and an HDMI port let you connect or charge multiple devices.

What you should consider: This laptop’s lack of an illuminated keyboard is a disappointment at this price point.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Top budget laptops

Electronics-Best HP 15-dy2024nr Laptop

HP 15-dy2024nr Laptop

What you need to know: This laptop’s HP Fast Charge feature lets you gain up to 50% of your battery life back in only 45 minutes.

What you’ll love: At just over $500, this Windows 11 laptop has the power you need to tackle daily work or school tasks with ease. Its 15.6-inch display is roomy without feeling oversized. The Intel Iris Xe graphics card is powerful enough to keep you moving. It includes 8GB of RAM.

What you should consider: This computer’s keyboard is challenging to see and it doesn’t include backlighting.

Where to buy: Sold by HP and Amazon

Electronics-Best 2022 Lenovo IdeaPad

2022 Lenovo IdeaPad

What you need to know: Lenovo’s latest IdeaPad continues to lead the pack, thanks to its premium feel and features.

What you’ll love: This laptop is available in various configurations to meet almost any user’s requirements. It can run for nearly eight hours before needing to be charged and features a brilliant touch screen display. 

What you should consider: This laptop’s large power adapter and lack of a backlit keyboard work against its otherwise high-end presentation.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Electronics-Best Acer Aspire 5

Acer Aspire 5

What you need to know: Acer is known for offering surprisingly capable machines at budget prices.

What you’ll love: With Windows 11 and AMD’s mobile processor and graphics hardware, this laptop is great for today’s media-heavy users. It features a fingerprint reader for enhanced security and its aluminum finish makes it sleek and stylish.

What you should consider: This laptop has only 4GB of RAM, which won’t satisfy creators who want to edit videos without performance issues.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Acer


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.